A crowd was gathered outside of the Thunder Horse Organization’s material laboratory, consisting of Li Youdun, Fan Yiming and the rest of Thunder Horse’s personal research team. Everyone waited around with great anticipation for an arrival.
They were waiting for Xia Lei to appear.
The man had already been inside the laboratory for eight hours, but there were still no signs of him emerging from within.
“Do you think Director Xia will succeed this time?” A material science expert popped the question.
“I’m not sure. Director Xia is great at designing weapons but material science is not his area of expertise.” Someone answered.
“Elder Fan is the country’s most prized material scientist and the Director of the Academy of Sciences. If this was an issue that Elder Fan couldn’t solve, how would Director Xia be able to break through it?” commented another person.
“Sigh! What a shame. If this was a success, the material would take the crown as the best aerospace material. This would be an achievement that will trigger the Americans’ jealousy.”
“I wish Director Xia would just come out now and tell us the outcome. Even if it’s a failure, a direction would do us good too,” said someone else.
The area was noisy with discussion.
Li Youdun was starting to lose his patience. He turned to whisper Fan Yiming a question, “Elder Fan, do you think Director Xia will succeed?”
Fan Yiming caressed his white beard. There was a brief pause before he answered, “I have no idea.”
That garnered a bitter scoff from Li Youdun. “Elder Fan, isn’t Director Xia your future grandson in law? Had he not told you anything in private?”
Fan Yiming rolled his eyes at Li Youdun. “He is my grandson in law but he told me nothing so far.”
Knowing that he wouldn’t get any answers, Li Youdun decided to shut up.
Among the buzzing discussion, a large group of people were seen to be heading in their direction from a distance. Walking in the front was Fan Fan with her leader trailing close behind her. He wasn’t just any random person, he held the highest rank amongst them all!
Noticing the leader’s presence, the crowd before the laboratory quickly dispersed to open a path.
Fan Fan briefed him about the current situation. Her expression was solemn and respectful. “Leader, this right here is the Thunder Horse Organization’s material laboratory.”
The man nodded lightly, his overall appearance seemingly approachable.
Despite that, all the Thunder Horse employees held their breath in nervously. To them, Fan Fan was already a high-ranking officer and for an officer like her to regard someone else as a leader was already a great indication of his ranking.
The significance behind his appearance was clear. The man paid great attention and had high hopes for Thunder Horse’s new material.
After all, the birth of this material was destined to shake the power balance of the world. In the near future, even if America planted radars in Korea, Vietnam and Japan, the Chinese fighter jets would still be able to evade it! To use this material on aircraft would enable even the elderly to make circles above the Japanese territory. They would be able to attack anyone stealthily! They could even utilize an aerial tanker to refuel mid-air before heading over to fly a lap above America!
A single material would open the door to endless possibilities with aircraft design. With such a resource, China would be able to thrive even with suppression from the other countries!
This was the turning point of the era. It was now charging its energy before its birth. After its completion, it would take off without mercy!
Fan Yiming came over to greet them. Even the respected older man was humble and courteous with them.
The leader asked with a smile, “Elder Fan, why are you out here?”
Fan Yiming returned a sheepish smile. “Oh, that kid wouldn’t let me in. So I had no choice but to wait outside too.”
“But isn’t he your grandson in law?” The man averted his gaze to look at Fan Fan, still smiling. “Oh, that reminds me. Fan Fan, when are you both going to tie the knot?”
Fan began to feel a little self-conscious about her slightly ‘swelling’ belly. Dizziness was starting to seep into her. “He’s such a busy man, we hadn’t had the time to spare for a ceremony yet. Perhaps we’d be getting married after a while.”
“No, that won’t do. A job is a job but personal affairs must be taken care of too. Marriage is one of the most important stages of life. Well, Lunar New Year is right around the corner. How about you get married during then?” suggested the leader.
“Sure, we’re willing to follow all instructions given.” Fan Fan’s heart leapt in joy.
Though her marriage to Xia Lei was arranged by the authorities, the couple was already involved with each other before that. Everything had taken its course naturally. However, though she had confirmed her relationship with Xia Lei, he hadn’t given much thought into a ceremony. Her belly was growing day by day and with her status, to have a child before marriage would complicate things. Now that the leader had suggested a date, Xia Lei wouldn’t be able to escape her grasp even if he was a slippery catfish!
“Elder Fan, congratulations. Your granddaughter will be in good hands.” The leader said.
Fan Yiming was grinning ear to ear. “Yeah, yeah. My granddaughter is a lucky one.”
Fan Fan sent a teasing glare at him. “Grandpa, why isn’t Xia Lei the lucky one? Are you saying that your granddaughter is worthless?”
At this moment, Li Youdun seemed to have mustered up enough courage. He announced, “I’m going to ask Director Xia to come out.”
“There’s no need for that, we can wait here. Let’s not interrupt his work,” declined the leader. His tone had never once wavered from its friendliness.
Li Youdun stepped away, evidently nervous.
Fan Fan studied the closed laboratory door with bubbling anxiety. She had mentioned the situation to her superiors and the man had insisted to pay the site a visit. They had postponed a very important meeting. But now that they’re here, Xia Lei was nowhere to be seen. She had no idea how long they were going to wait. It just didn’t feel appropriate to have an important figure wait outside closed doors for god knows how long.
This was a moment when Fan Fan wished Liang Siyao was with her. The woman was great at helping her land on a decision but Liang Siyao had opted to stay away due to her special past.
As Fan Fan’s worries began to eat at her, the doors to the laboratory were opened. A familiar figure had emerged from the room.
Xia Lei was finally out. In his hands was a stainless steel tray that carried a silver coloured metal. Its length and width looked to be at least one foot. Its height was about fifty centimetres tall. In terms of its volume, it would only make sense if it had weighed at least a few tens of pounds. However, the way Xia Lei held it made it seem only as heavy as a book.
The surprising amount of attention his appearance had garnered from the crowd waiting outside the door had Xia Lei stunned. Despite that, it didn’t take him long to notice Fan Fan and the smiling man beside her. The realization hit him hard with shock.
Fan Fan rushed over to him. “Hub... Xia, come with me. I’d like to introduce someone to you.”
It was only then that Xia Lei snapped out of his daze, following Fan Fan’s lead over to his unexpected esteemed guest.
The leader flashed him a grin. “There’s no need for introductions. I know him and he knows me. Let’s just jump straight into it. Comrade Xia Lei, is the thing in your hands the new material?”
“Yes, it is.” Xia Lei passed the tray over.
“Is it heavy?” The sheer size of the metal block was a little mind-boggling, causing the man to be a little afraid.
Xia Lei smiled at him reassuringly. “It only weighs nine and a half pounds.”
The shocking statement had triggered discussions among the crowd.
The leader picked up the metal block with utmost caution as if he was holding the hope of his people.
The silver coloured metal block glimmering under the illumination of the setting sun. It looked mystical, divine even.
Fan Yiming impatiently strode over and held Xia Lei’s forearm. “Have you tested it out?”
Xia Lei nodded. “I did.”
“How’s the outcome?” Fan Yiming was anxious. “Quick, tell me!”
Xia Lei answered, “It’s about the same as your test results earlier. It’s not any stronger than before.”
The words had Fan Yiming’s mind go blank. “Doesn’t that mean…”
Xia Lei interjected him. With a smile, he uttered, “Elder Fan, there’s no need to worry. I’ve solved the instability problem of the new material.”
“Huh?” Fan Yiming yelped and gawked in shock.
The man chuckled. “Xia Lei, why are you still calling him Elder Fan? That is no longer suitable, it’s about time you start calling him grandfather too.”
Fan Fan blushed at the indication, studying her lover’s reaction from the corners of her eyes. Her heart was positively pumping with delight and nervousness.
“Grandpa,” Xia Lei called. This was the first time he had ever called Fan Yiming with that title.
Fan Yiming broke out from his daze. Instead, the older man pressed on with his question. “Quick, you need to tell me how you managed to solve it! Tell me!”
The setting wasn’t appropriate for Xia Lei to explain in detail. His methods to achieve it were confidential.
“Yeah. Director Xia, how did you solve it?” Li Youdun joined, demanding answers.
“I understand your eagerness to know but…” Xia Lei hesitated.
Fan Fan immediately picked up the hint. She quickly called, “Grandpa, Xia Lei just called you grandpa. Did you notice that?”
“Huh? He called me what?” Fan Yiming’s mind had only been focused on the silver metal before him. There was literally no room to be concerned about other things.
Fan Fan continued, “Xia Lei called you grandpa. You hadn’t answered him yet. Jeez.”
“Oh… He called me grandpa…” The thought finally clicked in Fan Yiming’s brain. He guffawed. “Good, good… You’re an outstanding man. It is an honour for my granddaughter to be able to marry you!”
Fan Fan was speechless.
“Hahaha.” The leader spoke up, “This is a great occasion. Say, Xia Lei. Lunar New Year is near, how about we host the marriage during then? What do you say about that?”
“Sure, thank you for your concern.” Xia Lei beamed.
With his current situation, there was literally no difference between being married and not married.
The leader returned the metal block to Xia Lei. “It’s a huge metal block but it’s so light. What other benefits does it have to offer?”
Xia Lei replied, “Its strength is slightly superior to that of titanium alloy. It’s able to withstand the force of speed several times the speed of sound. Other than that, it is able to absorb radar electromagnetic waves completely. No radar in the world would be able to detect it if this material was used.”
“Excellent!” The man patted Xia Lei’s shoulder. “Work your hardest on this. You’re allowed to ask for any resources you need. Please remember that this is not just about you but the entire country. This achievement will be massive!”
Xia Lei nodded his head heavily. “We won’t disappoint the country’s expectations.”
At this moment, Fan Yiming pried the metal block out of Xia Lei’s grip and began to study it closely.
Li Youdun joined him, eyes glimmering at the wonderful silver metal block. The scientist was overwhelmed with excitement and hope.
After a few flips and turns, Fan Yiming abruptly lifted the block and threw it against the ground.
“Grandpa!” Fan Fan screeched but she was too late. The metal block slammed onto the concrete floor with a loud slam.
As soon as the block came in contact with the concrete ground, it bounced back from the impact and rolled twice before coming to a complete halt.
Everyone had their eyes glued to the area the block had hit.
On the concrete floor was a ridiculously obvious triangular dent. The metal block, on the other hand, was free of any damage upon inspection.
It was only yesterday that the silver metal replicated by Fan Yiming and Li Youdun had broken apart just from a fall!
“You… You really solved the problem! Hahaha!” Fan Yiming was ecstatic, laughing his heart out.
Li Youdun wrapped his fingers around the metal block. With shining eyes, he looked at his boss. “Director Xia, how did you do it? How did you solve the issue?”
Xia Lei did not answer him.
“Xia Lei, let me treat you to a meal.” Fan Yiming came over, his grin intense.
“Sure, it will be my honour.” Xia Lei returned a smile.
The older man turned to Fan Fan. “How about you cook a hearty meal for us?”
Fan Fan was rendered speechless.
A meal to celebrate the success of the new material.Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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